The United States Tennis Association (USTA) and Bermuda Tourism Authority (BTA) announced plans for a weekend of tennis events and activities to take place on the island April 3–4. The first-ever “Courts & Shorts Weekend” in Bermuda is part of an ongoing celebration of the island as a tennis destination for fans, players, enthusiasts and historians.
The BTA has worked closely with the USTA to develop the multi-faceted weekend, which includes a ticketed tennis exhibition and a kids’ clinic featuring tennis legends, rising tennis stars and former Bermuda Olympians. The events were created as part of a multi-year deal signed in 2019, making the BTA the official tourism partner of the US Open Tennis Championships.
“The US Open partnership puts Bermuda in the cultural conversation at one of the must-see events in New York City, Bermuda’s top visitor market,” said Victoria Isley, the BTA’s Chief Sales & Marketing Officer. “An important component of the partnership was to create an event in Bermuda that would generate direct spending, provide a kids’ clinic for community engagement, and be packaged into a television special to further promote Bermuda as a vacation destination.”
Former world No. 1s Andy Roddick and Arantxa Sánchez, both former US Open singles champions, will play in Saturday’s exhibition at Coral Beach & Tennis Club, Paget, 4–6 pm (April 4). This ticketed event will serve up fun, engaging matches with the featured players interacting with the crowd. Other participants include 1993 French Open doubles champion Luke Jensen, Chanda Rubin, former world No. 6 and winner of seven WTA singles titles, 2000 Wimbledon singles quarterfinalist and three-time ATP Tour singles titlist Jan-Michael Gambill, along with a number of young, rising tennis stars.
VIP experience packages are available for fans, which include a Friday evening reception, preferred access to the exhibition matches and a post-exhibition reception. Visit http://gotobermuda.com/courtsandshorts for more information on purchasing VIP packages and general admission tickets.
Friday’s free and open-to-the-public youth tennis clinic takes place at WER Joell Tennis Stadium, Pembroke, 1–3 pm; young people age five to 17 of all abilities are invited to participate. Under the USTA’s Net Generation umbrella, smaller courts, shorter racquets, and lower bouncing balls will be used for the clinic to help participants learn and get excited about playing tennis. The equipment will then be donated to Bermuda to further these efforts.
Sánchez, Jensen, Rubin and Gambill will be on hand to help coach, along with appearances by a contingent of accomplished Bermuda-based athletes, including: Clyde Best (Bermuda Sports Hall of Fame—football); Julian Fletcher (2016 Olympian—swimming); Patrick Singleton (three-time Olympian—luge & skeleton); Devon Bean (two-time Olympian—track & field); and Hazel Clark (three-time US Olympian and BTA Director of Sports Business Development—track & field). Please visit http://gotobermuda.com/courtsandshorts for more information and registration details.
In conjunction with the weekend’s activities, Tennis Channel will produce a television special as part of its “Destination Tennis” series.
Tennis has important historical roots in Bermuda. Credited by the International Tennis Hall of Fame as the “Mother of American Tennis,” Mary Ewing Outerbridge (born in America to Bermudian parents) first came across the game while visiting her family’s home on the island in 1874, learning tennis from British officers stationed in Bermuda. She later brought tennis equipment back to New York, introducing the sport in her home borough of Staten Island.
The April weekend events coincide with the Bermuda Breeze Championships, a USTA Super Category II tournament, slated to take place at Coral Beach & Tennis Club March 30–April 5. It’s anticipated the tournament will draw more than 100 players this year.